Running for humanity
Jun 18, 2013 | 362 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tragedy so often brings people together, if not physically then figuratively, and sometimes such bonds are forged from hundreds of miles and distant states away.

One such symbolic union is taking place Wednesday in Cleveland. Its theme is, “If ever there was a time to move ... Run Now.”

It is not news to most in our Bradley County hometown. Our newspaper has highlighted it multiple times on our front page. We do so because — in keeping with our community’s legacy of people helping people — the late-afternoon family event will serve as a material, a spiritual and an emotional outreach to our fellow Americans in Boston.

“Run Now” is Cleveland’s contribution to a monthlong cause — stretching throughout June — in which communities across America are hosting similar events as fundraisers whose proceeds will aid the families of the victims from the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing on April 15, and related events April 18-19. The outreach will extend to the loved ones of four who died as the result, direct and indirect, of the bombings, and another 264 who suffered injuries; 16 of these are now struggling to overcome the emotional and physical toll of amputations.

The deceased included Krystle Campbell, 29, Medford, Mass., a restaurant manager; Martin William Richard, 8, Dorchester, Mass.; Lingzi Lu, 23, a native of China and graduate student at Boston University; and Sean Collier, 26, Wilmington, Mass., an MIT police officer who died in the line of duty later in the week during the manhunt for the bombing suspects.

As of last week, some $46 million had been raised on behalf of the Victim Relief Fund of The One Fund Boston, a support source created at the request of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. The fund has steadily grown through the generosity of American businesses, foundations and individual donors. Wednesday’s “Run Now” activities in Cleveland will add to the total while helping to assure the needs of the injured, and the loved ones of the deceased, will be met with an unconditional empathy.

Orchestrated by People for Care & Learning and United Way of Bradley County, in partnership with several additional community organizations and individuals, “Run Now” is also an outreach by the local running community. Two avid runners — Matt Ryerson, president and CEO of United Way, and Fred Garmon, international director of PCL — agree runners across the United States feel the terrorists attacking Boston also attacked them.

It is why “Run Now” was established. It is how Cleveland and Bradley County runners, walkers and bicyclists will team by the hundreds to show support for Boston — financially, physically and emotionally.

In the long history of jogging, many have suggested a spiritual bond connects those who choose to run. It is more than a common desire for health. It is greater than a personal commitment to stay active. It is deeper than a shared conviction to enhance life.

It is each. It is some. It is all.

Runners run for the sheer enjoyment and the common experience. On Wednesday, Cleveland and Bradley County runners — and their walking and cycling brethren — will do so for humanity.

It’s that simple.

“Run Now” will kick off at 4 p.m. along the Greenway near the PCL playground and the readily identifiable big yellow chair. For the first two hours, families and kids will be entertained by some 15 vendors offering inflatables, face painting, food, refreshments, information and T-shirts bearing the “Run Now” logo. Bracelets will be given to participants, and T-shirts will be available for sale.

The event will include “Chalk Messages to Boston” compliments of the Greenway’s concrete surface and donated tools of the colorful trade. At 6 p.m., a 5K will head north along the Greenway toward Tinsley Park and the Home Depot, and a 2-mile walk will go south toward the Church of God International Offices. A 12-mile bicycle route will tour along neighboring streets.

Registration will take place on-site Wednesday. Entry fee is $5 or no more than $10 per family, with 100 percent of the money going to One Fund Boston.

Runners, walkers and cyclists at all levels of experience — and anyone else — are invited.

We hope you’ll be among them.

Your presence will be a shared voice for all of mankind.